What an unexpected turnaround it’s been for the Atlanta Falcons

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In what everyone and their grandma had pegged to be another disappointing, stumbling, shoot-themselves-in-the-foot kind of season for the Atlanta Falcons, things are turning out not quite as expected

The Dirty Birds are busy building a nest on the top of their mountain high up in the sky, looking down only long enough to knock off another opponent.

This team is not the same as they were a year ago. This team has its eyes on the prize, just in time for Super Bowl 50.

Email newsletter signup

Okay, okay. It’s far too early to even joke about the Falcons making it to the Super Bowl. But it’s hard for anybody to ignore their explosive 4-0 start, and they aren’t even in division play yet.

It was always no question whether quarterback Matt Ryan was one of the strongest quarterbacks in the league. But right when Matty Ice was thought to be melting, he shows us that he’s only getting started. So far this season, he is 96-for-143 with 1,202 passing yards. He has throws more than 250 passing yards per game. That’s nuts, I tell you. The only blemishes on the 30-year-old’s record are a couple interceptions in the season opener against Philadelphia. But I’ll chalk that up to opening-game jitters. Since then, he has thrown zero interceptions, and appears to be more precise with his passing than anyone else in the league.

It helps to have Julio Jones on the other end of most of those passes. He is on course to have a 2,000-yard season. Some say he may even reach 3,000 yards, which might be a little unrealistic, but certainly not impossible. In four games, he is sitting comfortably at 478 yards on 38 receptions.

Round out of the offense with the Seminole Sensation, Devonta Freeman. He is the infantryman for the Falcons. Send him in the do the dirty work in the trenches after Ryan and Jones have edged things up close to the end zone through the long-pass game. Seven touchdowns in the past three games; give him the ball more, coach!

What’s perhaps most surprising to me is the defense, which went from Swiss cheese last season to a group of players who actually bring 11 helmets to the ball every play. As much as it comes down to the players stepping up and playing harder, I have to attribute the turnaround to the grand architect.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn is seeing some mighty big success in his first season in Atlanta. The former Seahawks defensive coordinator who helped coached Seattle to winning Super Bowl XLVIII is rejuvenating this team. That combined with effective play calling from new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and a noticeably easy schedule, it looks like those Falcons might be able to make a run this year.